Pope Francis He asked for prayers for his predecessor, former Pope Benedict, who was said to be very strong-willed. Benedict, 95, stepped down as pope in 2013 due to his advanced age and poor health.
Speaking in his final public address for the year, Pope Francis He confirmed Benedict’s concerns and asked Catholics around the world to think of him at this time.
“I would like to ask for a special prayer from all of you Emeritus Pope Benedictwho, in silence, supports the Church,” Pope Francis said in his address.
“I remind you that he is very ill.
“Let us ask the Lord to comfort and support him in this testimony of love for the Church to the end.”
At the end of his public audience, Francis goes to visit Benedict, who has been living in the Vatican since his retirement nine years earlier. The Vatican said he is stable but receiving ongoing care.
“The situation at the moment remains under control and doctors are constantly following it,” said spokesman Matteo Bruni.
The first pope to retire in centuries
the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI He became the first leader of the Catholic Church to step down in nearly 600 years. The last one to do so was Pope Gregory XII In 1415.
In his letter of resignation at the time, Benedict said: “Having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, by reason of age, are no longer suited to a proper exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
Some criticized BenedictThe decision to remain in the Vatican, to continue using his papal name and vestments. Critics have even suggested that his presence and actions threaten the unity of the Church, providing a conservative viewpoint against the more progressive Francis.